Spectral Lore is a Greek progressive black metal band that seems to have a rather short but rich history. Their debut and sophomore albums I and II both came out in 2012, at least from what their bandcamp tells me, and the latter came before the former, strangely. I still have to listen to these records, but today I will be talking about III, which came out about a year ago.
What made me dismiss this album, when I first encountered it, probably was the opening track, Omphalos. It is really not representative of the rest of the album, and I highly suggest you skip it at first, lest you dismiss the album like I did, and that’d be a terrible mistake. Play any of the other songs on the album, anyone, really, and you’ll hear what Spectral Lore is about. The songs are long, windy, dynamic, varied, emotive, explorative, atmospheric, brutal, progressive, and fragile at times. This is some of the best black metal that I’ve had the chance to listen to. I once had a vivid revulsion towards black metal, thanks to those shitty popular bands, the fans of which is comprised in majority of high school girls, but if I, in my teenage years, would’ve been introduced to such an album as this one, given I was sufficiently mature to like it, I would not have rejected black metal as the shame of metal music for such a long time.
The songs take you on an adventure, through a story that unfolds with each pound of the kick drum, each airy growl, each tremolo picked note, onto new grounds; will it be an acoustic section or a blast beat one, will it be dark or filled with hope… One thing is for sure, it’s that each song is unique and unravels in its own manner. Even at the end of this massive piece, almost 90 minutes, you don’t feel worn out; it’s repetitive enough that each section sinks in well in your brain, and that you can make a mental image of the scene that is being portrayed, but each part is different enough that you don’t feel like going through a monochrome painting.